Hungry for sex

Sarah Bahbah, Sex
and takeout, 2015
MORE PHOTOS IN SARAH
BAH BAH INSTAGRAM:
@RAISEDBYTHEWOLVESAU
SOME PREFER A CIGARETTE
AFTER THE DEED,
OTHERS OPT
FOR
FAST FOOD. SARAH BAHBAH
SHOOTS ENTICING
SNAPSHOTS OF COUPLES
SATISFYING THEIR
INDECENT
GASTRONOMIC
CRAVINGS.

The otherworldly hand with pizza in this picture seems oddly reminiscent of the famous video meme in which actor Ryan Gosling refuses to eat his cereal, despite the insistent hand with a spoon. However in this case, it seems like the pizza-offering hand will triumph.

From childhood we're taught that the naked body is indecent, and as if that wasn't enough of a downer, we also have the cult of healthy eating thrust upon us, with constant exhortations to eat ‘properly’. In her photo series Sex and Takeout, Australian photographer Sarah Bahbah explores the delicious liberation involved with simultaneously breaking both these taboos.

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The perfectly ordered green tones in this interior hint at the care that Bahbah takes to construct an 'accidental' picture.

Bahbah's decadent tableaus are a gluttonous combination of pizza, burgers, hotdogs and french fries, all scattered around scenes of carnal (or post-carnal) delight. Bahbah states: “Pizza is a lot like sex. When it’s good, it’s really good. When it’s bad, it’s still pretty good.” She also comments on how Sex and Takeout was inspired by her own experience: “I was travelling the States with an old lover, we ordered way too much Chinese takeout and devoured fried rice and noodles from those Styrofoam takeaway containers while watching the Flintstones in bed.”

A surprisingly interior packaging pizza — black, with a large type; together with the leopardprint rug it’s real bohemian chicsurprisingly

A classic image that seems fit for a rock and roll album cover. Our eyes dart between the girl with the jumbo pizza and the fluorescent, ethnic rug in the lower right corner. Note the cluster of clocks hidden in the fireplace!

It’s easy to imagine this scene in a Jarmusch film. Or one of Sorrentino's. Or anything by another of your favorite directors. Everyone loves the movies!

A wonderful variation on the theme of The Three Graces in an interior of the very late Teddy Bear Empire era.

Another interesting aspect to Bahbah’s series is the questions it raises about spectatorship. Some photos seem less staged — like snaps taken of one lover by another, whereas in others, the models are posed, gazing knowingly at the camera. What is the role of the photographer: participant, intrigued voyeur or impassive documenter? Does she know the models, or have they just met? And are we the audience part of this exchange? Do we feel like the photographer or another viewer entirely?
It’s hard to define why Sex and Takeout appeals to the viewer (apart from the nubile bodies in states of undress). It may be something to do with the sense of abandonment visible in these photos — the disarray of greasy takeout, limbs, lips, tousled hair, breasts and thighs indicates a carefree, abandoned reality: casual sex with friends is the very opposite of a respectable, suburban, married lifestyle. No Saturday morning trips to the market for organic vegetables, no dull, predictable marital sex. Instead, this series speaks of a time when it was possible to fall into bed casually with one or two lovers, order pizza at dawn and loll around in bed until midday. Life is short, and if there is a loved one, it makes no sense to comply with someone else's invented rules. Long live gluttony!

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